Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The first one's free...

I have acquired a bit of a reputation at work as being an enabler. Some people here would no doubt rank me up with the most criminal of parasites, offering temptation to those innocents walking by who lack the fortitude to resist my siren song.

Yes...I'm "the candy guy".

I don't know quite how it all started, but back when I worked in Cleveland there was a small bowl for sweets in my group. Like everyone else, I contributed every now and again, and it was shared in an idealistic, communal spirit that would have made Marx as happy as a crocodile in a barn full of blind and paralyzed chickens. Back then however, I was a ravenous consumer of anything chocolate going back to when I was a toddler. Ask my mom about the time I threw a tantrum until she gave me a piece of unsweetened baking chocolate. My, my...*that* was a lesson in deceptive packaging.

Because I loved eating the chocolate, I became one of the most frequent consumers of it. Inspired then, no doubt by guilt over ruining the utopian candy-land we had created, I started bringing in more candy, more often. Eventually, people came to realize that if they just let me eat all the candy I'd always re-fill it, relieving them of the responsibility of bringing it in as often. By the time I had left Cleveland for Chicago, I as filling the new bowl I had supplied as often as once a week.

But something happened when I got to Chicago. I found that my candy highs were not as fulfilling as they once were, and I started weaning myself to the point where I really don't eat any of the candy that I bring in anymore. Rather, I have become a "candy dealer". Pushing my "junk" on the unsuspecting youth of my company. I'm the shady little weasel, hiding in the shadows offering free ones to the new management trainees "if they bring their friends next time". Yes, I am a powerful evil.

Being in this position as a lord of the underworld has given me a whole new appreciation for that life perspective. For example, one of the tasks that all candy dealers have to deal with is simple supply chain issues. It can get expensive to buy candy, particularly in any sort of volume, so one has to constantly be looking to score good stuff cheap. That is why yesterday was an awesome day. Yes, the day after Easter...the greatest day a candy dealer can hope for. Everything is at least 50% off and sometimes more.

As I was walking through Target running errands, I came across two aisles where they were unloading their excess candy. People were loading up on Cadbury Creme Eggs, peanut butter eggs, and Easter-themed M&M's in a frenzy that pitted a variety of candy consumers against each other - yuppie moms, grandmothers, diabetics in denial, and the candy dealers. It was like nothing I've ever been personally involved with. I never thought I'd need to start pushing people in a consumer situation before, but when the elderly nana hip-checked the mother of four into her own cart I knew I needed to watch my back. I took advantage of a sudden restocking of Peeps distracting the crowd to score 5 bags of M&M's and some creme eggs. I should be set for work at least for a few weeks with this score....awesome.

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